Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is signaling support for the House Democratic impeachment effort that includes an article charging the presi
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is signaling support for the House Democratic impeachment effort that includes an article charging the president with ‘incitement of insurrection.’
Word of the powerful Republican’s posture came Tuesday as the House prepared prepared to take up an impeachment article Wednesday – with signs that several Republicans will back it.
McConnell worked successfully to scuttle the impeachment effort during a trial last year on different charges, and follows reports that McConnell never wants to speak to Trump again after the Capitol riots that had Trump supporters invading the Capitol, trashing leadership offices, and endangering the lives of lawmakers.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denounced Trump’s election challenge in a speech last week after a mob egged on by Trump invaded the U.S. Capitol
McConnell backs the effort because it will make it easier to purge Trump from the party, the New York Times reports.
One feature of impeachment – which can grind the Senate to a halt and lead to furious partisan arguments – is that it allows lawmakers to vote to prohibit the person being impeached from ever holding public office with the U.S. government.
Trump may run for president in 2024, and many of his potential rivals happen to hold Senate seats.
McConnell has made clear in private discussions that ‘now is the moment to move on the weakened lame duck, whom he blames for Republicans losing the Senate,’ according to the report.
Nevertheless, a McConnell memo that emerged over the weekend cited scheduling challenges for impeachment – a trial might not even begin until after Jan. 19th, since the Senate is not in session.
Trump ignored McConnell’s advice and launched his election challenge despite two run-off elections in Georgia which the GOP lost – stripping the party of its majority.
McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, quit the Trump cabinet after the riots, which included an angry mob getting blocked steps from the door to the Senate chamber that McConnell uses when he normally strolls from his leadership office.
Post-riot accounts from last Wednesday reveal that not only did President Trump egg on supporters who wreaked havoc in the Capitol – but he was glued to the television as the events unfolded, incapable of responding to desperate pleas to use influence to stop it and enjoying seeing it unfold.
There were two major areas where the president fell dramatically short of what was being asked of him: using his personal popularity with his followers to urge them to vacate the Capitol immediately; and using the vast powers of his office to try to speed a federal response.
But when key current and former aides and family members tried to reach him, he was ‘busy enjoying the spectacle,’ according to a Washington Post account.
President Donald Trump called his pre-riot remarks ‘totally appropriate’
President Donald Trump was glued to the television at the White House as his supporters ransacked the Capitol
As the historic mob invasion of the U.S. seat of legislative government unfolded, a variety of people with influence over Trump sought to get to him to urge action.
The routes they took were typical of the loosely organized web of influence within the Trump White House.
Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham – who only after the riot firmly declared Joe Biden the winner of the election – reached out to the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.
‘It took him a while to appreciate the gravity of the situation,’ Graham told the Post. ‘The president saw these people as his allies in his journey and sympathetic to the idea that the election was stolen,’ Graham said of the rioters who took the Capitol.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who Trump believes is so much under his wing that he has publicly called him ‘My Kevin,’ was pleading for action.
Trump had told supporters to ‘fight’ and encouraged them to march to the Capitol
Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Protesters attempt to enter the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation’s capital during a joint session Congress to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. One Capitol Police officer died in the action
Police officers in riot gear line up as protesters gather on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. It took hours to regain control of the building
Senator Lindsey Graham reached out to Ivanka Trump during the chaos
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pleaded with Trump during the riot
Chief of staff Mark Meadows urged Trump to speak out after an aide told him ‘They are going to kill people’ in reference to the rioters
McCarthy phoned Trump directly to try to plead for assistance – but also called the president’s son in law, Jared Kushner, who was returning form a trip to the Middle East.
Former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, who doesn’t even work for Trump anymore, tried to get through to him to urge action. She phoned an aide she knew was in close proximity to Trump.
The office of the Mayor of Washington, desperate to get more National Guard forces amid logistical and jurisdictional hurdles, also reached out to Conway.
Chief of staff Mark Meadows urged Trump to speak out after an aide told him: ‘They are going to kill people,’ in reference to the rioters.
A primary area of the pleas related to something Trump was capable of doing on his own without engaging with the bureaucracy: issuing simple Twitter or video pleas for protesters to get out of the Capitol.
The appeals he finally made either lacked a direct call to fall back, or sprinkled in approving language even as the riot that would become deadly unfolded.
At 2:30 pm, about half an hour after the Capitol breach, Trump told his supporters to ‘Please support our Capitol Police’ and to ‘Stay peaceful!’
His next message was more explicit, writing ‘No violence!’ – but claimed ‘WE are the Party of Law & Order.’
After he finally put out a video at about 4 pm, Trump finally told his backers to ‘go home.’ But he also called them ‘very special,’ called the election ‘fraudulent,’ and said: ‘You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home, and go home in peace.’
Trump himself had egged on his supporters with demands that they ‘fight,’ calling the election fraudulent, and putting pressure on Vice President Mike Pence, whose only role was ceremonial and involved opening and reading from envelopes containing electoral votes.
Trump was glued to the television as the storming of the Capitol was broadcast.
Prior reporting has revealed that the Washington D.C. government had requested a National Guard presence, but Guard were assigned to traffic and other assistance and weren’t issued ammo or riot gear.
The now resigned chief of Capitol Police says he wanted more Guard support in advance of Wednesday but had been told by superiors to ask for it informally. The governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, says there were delays getting approval to send Guard forces from the Pentagon.
But it wasn’t mere distraction that kept Trump from springing into action. It’s not atht he was too busy because he was so consumed, which he was,’ the New York Times reported.
‘He was pleased because it was people fighting on his behalf. He was pleased because he liked the scene. And he was pleased because it was delaying the certification of the Electoral College vote,’ the New York Times reported. ‘He knew what was happening… He just didn’t want to do anything.’
Although McCarthy told colleagues on a call Monday Trump had accepted ‘some responsibility’ for the riot, on Tuesday the president was back to his defiant posture familiar from impeachment and the Russia probe. He said a second impeachment Democrats are lining up is a ‘continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.’